IP touts recycled product, program

Published 11:28 pm Monday, October 1, 2012

Paper Recycling is a national success story that is only now getting the attention it deserves. This is good news for the paper industry and for the Riverdale Mill.

The Riverdale Mill in Dallas County produces more than 600,000 tons of paper each year. Instead of winding up in a landfill following its use, much of what is produced at Riverdale will be collected and recycled around the country, as recovery rates for paper continue to reach new heights.

The Riverdale Mill produces both virgin grades and recycled content grades of paper. Earlier this year, International Paper announced the launch of a 100 percent recycled paper offering, Hammermill Great White 100. This product is produced at Riverdale and came after a multi-million dollar investment into the mill’s recycled product capabilities. The Hammermill Great White 100 joined IP’s 30 percent and 50 percent recycled paper offerings.

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“The bottom line is this capability is making us more competitive”, Riverdale Mill Manager Jim Bruce said. “It feels good to be making a difference. The combined use of new and recovered fiber makes paper one of the most sustainable products in the world.”

The paper industry has been striving for higher rates of recycling since 1990. That year, a target of 40 percent paper recovery was set and achieved in 1994. Since then, increasingly aggressive goals have been set and met.

The American Forest and Paper Association and its member companies have led the way in raising awareness for paper recovery.

Since 1990, the amount of paper recovered for recycling in the U.S. has increased by more than 87 percent. Using data from the EPA, the recovery rate of all paper and paperboard has reached 63 percent in the U.S. Paper recovery is 40 years ahead of plastic.

“It is in our interest to promote paper recovery, not just to prevent environmental impacts from paper sent to landfill, but to provide raw material for our mills,” Bill Gardner, general manager of International Papers recycling group said. “Our company’s recycling business collects, consumes, or markets 6 million tons of old corrugated containers and paper annually. We either use this recovered paper at our own mills to make new paper products or sell it to other manufacturers across the globe.”

Nearly 90 percent of Americans have access to curbside or drop-off recycling systems, which is leading to the increased recovery rates.

International Paper currently is the fourth largest consumer of recovered paper in the world and one of the largest brokers of recovered paper to mills around the globe, recovering 6 million tons of paper and packaging annually.


Growing global demand

In 2011, 44 percent of the paper recovered for recycling in the U.S. was exported, with almost 70 percent of that going to China. Recent projections estimate that world demand for recovered paper will increase at a rate of 4 percent each year for the next 15 years, to 400 million metric tons by 2025.

This suggests that recovered paper will be in strong demand during the foreseeable future and recovered paper markets will continue to develop.

Given this continuing surge in global demand for recovered fiber, an increase in recovery is not only good for the environment, but also vital to the continued success of the paper industry, which in turn is good news for the Riverdale Mill.